I understand your frustration and have felt that way, too. So what I've discovered may help you, just like it did me. First of all, most artists (unless they're really good at digital work specifically) don't just put down a pretty line with lots of variation in line weight(thickness) in one pass. They actually do exactly what you mentioned: sometimes making several passes to build up parts of the line or taking away part of the line with the eraser. I didn't know that until recently. I know that with traditional inking several passes are usually made.
Also, make sure the drivers are installed, even though tablets are "plug and play." I initially thought that's all you needed to do, and my strokes were not nearly as controllable until I actually installed the drivers .
But it is absolutely worth putting the time in to get comfortable with doing lineart with the tablet. You can do pretty much anything imaginable once you get it down. Good luck!
Thank you for the comment. This has made me think: as an experiment, I'm going to install the Windows drivers for my tablet, install GIMP on my Windows instance, and see if I notice any difference in how it behaves when working in Windows. I've done everything in Linux up until now. I'll report back here on how it goes.
Here is how I do my line art. This is an example. [link] A good thing to note is that sketching in photoshop isn't exactly easy. I find sketching in real life much easier than it is in photoshop.
Step one: get a pretty solid sketch, change its color to something other than black. Step two: Lower the opacity of the sketch. Step Three: Turn off opacity and flow jitter. Step Four: Make a new layer draw a line. Step Five: Make a new layer draw a line. Erase the extra. Step Six: Merge down a layer.
Repeat step four through six until you have a finished the line art. Some people even turn off shape dynamics as well. I prefer not too but it's up to you. The reason you do this is you can manipulate one line at a time so it all fits together perfectly. I've used the actions menu to make it so F2 makes a new layer and F4 merges a layer down. This way I can do this with great speed.
Wow, doing separate layers as you do the lines seems tedious, but if you configure shortcuts for that, I guess it goes pretty quickly. Your digital work seems to be more about shapes than lines...more painter-like than illustrator-like, if that makes sense. For whatever reason, I like to have pretty prominent lines. Not that it's good or bad...just my style.
Yeah that does make sense. I guess a part I forgot to mention is keep drawing the line til it's perfect. By that I mean draw the line on its own layer and if it isn't perfect press ctrl+z then try again. This way you can build up your linework one perfect line at a time. It may sound very tedious and it kinda is but imo its the easiest way. This video shows the basics of the actions window in photoshop. [link]
Yeah I've personally watched every video on that site, even the paid ones. In my opinion his website and videos are second to none. Everything he teaches is short and to the point. For me his videos made me prefer digital over traditional after some learning.
fersteger2Featured By OwnerJan 6, 2013Professional Digital Artist
Try a trial version of Sketchbook Pro. I can't draw good lines at all in photoshop, but sketchbook pro has plenty of options for line smoothing and stabilizing. It's much closer to drawing on paper than most other digital programs.
I've got to try Manga Studio myself, wanted to check that out.
I've used just about every digital medium there is under the sun. I personally like photoshop the best. It's extremely versatile and can tackle any problem under the sun given you know how to use it properly. It's an industry standard for a good reason.
I'm currently using Manga Studio 5 which has the stabilizer function alot of people are talking about. I still build up lines like you do. The problem I have is that it's easier for me to control my lines while zoomed in, but when I zoom out the lines look much thicker than the ones I make when I'm zoomed out. I'm even careful with the pressure.
The problem might be the Gimp. You might be able to snag a cheap copy of MS off of Amazon or somewhere and get it work with Wine. I seem to remember I got it to work back in my dark Linux days. However I think Linux didn't recognize my tablet's pressure sensitivity or something. It might be worth it though if you feel like you're struggling more with an older program than with your own technique (I know that feeling).
I've messed with Wine a bit, but have not had too much luck with it. Right now, I'm dual-booting, but my Windows instance is XP (which I need for iTunes and a few other things), and rather than bounce back and forth, I'm just trying to do what I can in Linux. The tablet seems to work pretty well; the trick I found is to start GIMP with the stylus and tablet (rather than with the mouse). When I do that, I get the pressure sensitivity.
on sai there's a little bit where oyu can change stabilising the higher the stabilising the smoother the line although it takes getting used to also not every line is drawn in one go infact almost none are its just draw line, this is wonky undo redraw repeat until perfect and smooth
Ha, if I had a buck for every time someone recommended SAI to me, I'd be rich...or anyway able to buy a new PC with Windows so I could actually run SAI! I will have to try it, and just plan on a lot of "wonky undo's"
When I do use lineart, I do it in SAI with the brush tool and stabiliser on around 9. It's still incredibly tedious and I often find myself undoing a whole lot, which is why I generally do lineless paintings D:
Well, I really like the lines on your "sucrette" picture. They look like they were done with a traditional ink brush...they have a nice warm, feel to them. So yeah maybe tedious, but maybe also worth the effort.
Thanks for the link. I've actually seen that video before, and it made me think "wow, I wish I could do that". I did notice that he had some light gray lines that he was using as guides...don't know if they were traditional or not.
I think it was all digital, so I imagine it would be a layer with the opacity turned down. There's other videos of his work around traditional and digital, I'm sure you can find them easily. For however much technique there is involved comes a lot of practice. Keep working at it, I'm sure you'll get to where you want.
Honestly, part of it IS the program you use. I cannot get as nice lines in MS Paint as I can in SAI. That's just how it goes. There is also a stabiliser setting in SAI and Photoshop that you can use...
You may also want to look into vector art with the pen tool in photoshop. SAI also has a lineart layer option that lets you edit anchor points in pen lines by holding ctrl.
Yeah, at some point, I have to try vector art. I've seen some pretty incredible pieces here on dA. Will someone pay me so I can just be a full-time "Investigator of Optimal Ways in Which To Produce Decent Digital Line Art?"
I guess I'm still afraid of re-doing my line arts with drawing software. I admit that I just do the latter, haha. At least, I get to practice my inking and I also get to experiment with the effects I get after inking.
Hmm, it's not a bad thing, I guess, to draw the line art traditionally first. I think, after I'm satisfied with the effects and such that I get after discovering and or practicing techniques traditionally, I'll be able to get the kind of line art I want when I finally draw line art with the drawing software. Besides You'll only get better with time and practice, haha.
If you're frustrated with the way you handle your tablet, I suggest you make the most of the pen tool in Photoshop (idunno if SAI has something similar) because you can stroke with simulated pressure. Once you feel you're more confident with handling the tablet's pen, then by all means draw your line art confidently!
Start with a rough, then a clean up rough on another layer, the ZOOM IN to your work. Create a reasonable resolution canvas (150dpi), and zoom in until you can see pixels, this gives you the best control. Use the hand tool (space bar) in photoshop to drag as you draw your lines. Also, use rotate (R) to turn your drawing for those hard to get lines. You can open up the Wacom Tablet properties and set your pen buttons to keyboard shortcuts as well.
Thanks for your comment. Re: "Use the hand tool (space bar) in photoshop to drag as you draw your lines". I'm not sure what you mean here. I use GIMP, but it usually has functions that are similar to what's on Photoshop. I'm just not sure how I drag and draw lines at the same time.
In PS when you hold down the spacebar your cursor changes to a hand which when you click and drag it moves you around the canvas. He's just saying when your lines go past what you can see(because of how far you're zoomed in) you should move around the canvas so you can finish the line, the spacebar is just a quick way of doing it in PS.
Anyways, I find zooming out and throwing my lines quickly works the best for me, unless I'm doing small details, then I zoom in. I don't pat my lines or scratch at them, I try to do it in 1 stroke. If I miss by a few pixels it's ok, if I miss by a lot...well that's what Ctrl+Z is for.
I also did the lines for this for someone, but in Sai: [link] It's a lot easier with Sai's stabilizer. I'd probably use linework layers in Sai if I inked something again now that I know how to use them.
Digital art programs are not about lines. They do air brush paintings. To do lines with an air brush is a lot more work than a pencil. If you want a perfect program for drawing and filling cells then digital art is as easy as an airbrush but cost nothing.
So when you thing of working with digital art think of an air brush with some advantages. With airbrushes you can't use stroke to draw lines around shapes. The smoother the shape, the smoother the lines created by stroke.
So, if you want to work with digital art, you should learn to work with it than against it.
Well, that's interesting. Your Photoshop work is very "airbrush-y"...very smooth. But I have also seen a lot of digital work that is successful without using that airbrush technique (see this example - [link] - it's not mine), and have heard from some artists that avoid it. So I think you can work with digital art, and still have strong lines without an airbrush approach.
My point was not about me using an air brush technique.
I have worked with a lot of mediums and the first thing to do is notice what it does, how it acts, and what it does best. Then take advantage of that in a way that create the illusion you want.
I could draw hash marks without drawing a single line, I an make line art without drawing a single line. It is all in the program to do things like that. It is part of being creative with what you have to work with.
I use Paint Tool SAI. I use mainly pen size 2-6 (depending on drawing) and I use min size-0 so that it's all wavy and stuff. I use linework layers when I'm drawing stuff like stars and stuff like this one -->[link] cos you know, i suck at drawing stars freehand. The stars still look terrible but at least it looks like some sort of star, I guess. but yeah that's my way of lineart. Some artists do find it easier doiign traditional then digitally. But in my opinion when i do that; my art drawn digitally looks different when it was traditional. 'Cos of human anatomy and stuff.
SarosnaFeatured By OwnerDec 29, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I tried to learn to do line art on a Wacom Bamboo myself but my wrist just wasn't feeling it. Shaky lines, shapes didn't come out how they were supposed to and my wrist started to get sore. I personally bought a scanner to scan lineart made traditionally with pencil + marker.
On another thread, people pointed out that you can simply paint over a scanned lineart piece using a tablet. That's what I'm going to try for my next piece. Would save me a lot of time consuming cleaning work if it works wonders.
"...paint over a scanned lineart piece using a tablet." That's what my daughter's been doing. I might have to try that as well. I've got a pretty good pencil sketch that I've scanned in, and I'm going to try several different techniques with it. And then I think I'll ink the sketch (traditionally), and see how that goes.
SarosnaFeatured By OwnerDec 30, 2012Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I actually tried that "paint over with a tablet" thing last night...didn't work out so well. My wrist simply doesn't co-operate with the tablet. The pen is too large and drawing area too small. When sketching, I usually use rather free wrist movements. So I decided to go ahead and ordered some ProMarker pens online And thanks for the positive feedback!
I just posted my first drawing where I worked from a detailed pencil sketch and then went over the lines on a tablet once I had scanned it in ([link]). I think it worked pretty well, but now I may go back and ink the pencil sketch traditionally and see if that's any easier.
SarosnaFeatured By OwnerJan 5, 2013Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That looks REALLY good! Way better than any of my drawings If you have the patience to paint over with a tablet then that probably will look better. I just got some new materials for traditional drawing and I haven't tested the quality I get from scanning.
-Practice. Seriously, it takes a while to get used to the tablet and I'm even still improving now with how efficently I do things. For instance I found I liked to do most of my lineart not really zoomed in as it allowed my lines to be smoother as long as I moved with confidence. It takes time to figure that stuff out because it's about you as an individual. -Make sure you tablet settings are right for you. If they don't fit with the way you draw, such as pen pressure, then it can be hard to get the brush to do what you want.